Murda She Wrote: This Month's Best Dancehall

Featuring Beenie Man, Alkaline, and Adeeno.

murda she wrote dancehall
P&P Original

Image via P&P Original

murda she wrote dancehall

Everybody has their own way of giving thanks—whether it’s volunteering to help others, sharing a plate of food with friends and family, or throwing a party with great music. That’s why the holiday season is the time of year when anything can go down. This time of year brings out different emotions in everyone. Some of us assess the year gone by, some plan for the future.

We may be spending happy times with loved ones or not-so-happy times with not-so-loved ones, but at times like this it’s helpful to remember the old Jamaican saying, “Where there is life there’s hope.” In other words, if you’re reading this, it’s not too late.

Beenie Man - Everybody Know

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Beenie Man has had a pretty intense year. From having his song sampled on Drake’s Views—replacing Popcaan’s original version of “Controlla”—to seeing Kartel challenge his title by naming his latest album King of the Dancehall. But no matter what comes his way, Beenie is a dancehall O.G. always says and does exactly as he pleases.

His latest track, on Seanizzle’s popular “47th Floor” Riddim addresses “the badmind pussy them”—you know, those individuals who never tire of standing in the way of progress. “Them wait till you buss and run place and have a likkle ting—run een want sup’m,” Beenie sings. “Them nuh know you when hungry ah kick you like a soccer, king—now them ah me first cousin?” But in true Beenie Man style, the Doctor has just the right prescription. “Threat them ah send and me life them wan’ tek / Tell badmind fuck off we no give a heck.” 

Adeeno - "Haad Work"

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“No me never stop believing,” sings Adeeno at the start of this tune, a reflection on the elements of success. “No them couldn’t stop me dreaming.” Not exactly a new artist, the Kingston-born singer who calls himself the “Voice of the Voiceless” has been doing his thing since he was eight years old, when his stepfather gifted him with a tape recorder.

But where Adeeno’s earlier records—the 2012 single “Mr. Lawman,” or 2013’s “Puff Puff Pass”—stuck with well-known themes (police bad; ganja good), his latest release on Nicko Rebel Music is brutally honest. Shrugging off the jibes and taunts of haters and “dutty badmind” alike, the artist keeps his head down and handles his business. “Like the clock—ticka-ticka-tock—we juss ah move,” he sings. Imagine if being real about the struggle could be the secret to ending the struggle? If so, then this might just be the song that finally connects Adeeno’s voice with the world’s ears.

Charly Black ft. Daddy Yankee - “Gyal You a Party Animal (Remix)"

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It’s been over two years since Charly Black first voiced “Gyal You a Party Animal,” and the song still has the ladies “flipping like a Flip-a-Gram” all over the world. Produced by Kurt Riley on Techniques Records’ “Jambe-an” Riddim, the track’s fusion of dancehall, Latin, and soca vibes has caught on big in South American markets like Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador.

Last year Riley licensed “Party Animal” to a French company, P2S Records, who in turn struck a distribution deal with Universal Music’s Latin division. So it's no surprise to see reggaeton superstar Daddy Yankee on this remix, ripping up the track like it was “Gasolina.” If you need a tune to work off the extra mashed potatoes and stuffing, look no further. 

Alkaline - "Extra Lessons"

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Alkaline gets less media support than most of the biggest dancehall artists, but he stays on top of the game because you can always count on the Vendetta Boss to drop a track that’s worth listening to. His latest release with DJ Frass is no exception: futuristic sounds, elaborate flows, fetching melodies, and plenty of tough talk make "Extra Lesson" another win for Alkaline.

It takes a real badman to know that “girls rule the world,” and as many a marketing genius has noted, “where the girls go, the men will follow.” In this Alka declares himself a “magician with me voice,” with the ability to make women do anything he says. “Idiot bwoy, she still a give me the pussy,” Alkaline taunts, going on to brag about “me exchange number after me exchange DNA.” Just in case he hasn't made it clear clear, you might not want to leave your girl around this guy. As the artist says, “The ladies are for me and I’m for them likewise.”

H20 Music - "Yardman Riddim"

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ZJ Liquid made his name in the early 2000s in the dancehalls of Montego Bay before landing a show on the popular Jamaican radio station Zip FM. Since then, he’s evolved into more than an internationally known radio personality—he’s also a prolific producer, as well as an artist in his own right. “Some people may say, ‘You do too much,'” Liquid told me. “But Jah bless we to do it or we would falter along the way.”

Since establishing the H20 label in 2004, Liquid has emerged as one of dancehall’s top producers. His new “Yardman” riddim, distributed by 21st Hapilos, is the first release on Liquid’s H20 since his debut album, MSquared, this past spring. The artist lineup on this mid-tempo digital bubbler is tight, with the standout track being Vybz Kartel’s playfully prurient “Emoji,” in which a texted smiley face leads to a steamy tryst. “Take a taxi and come over,” Kartel beckons. “Foot pon shoulder / backshot pon the sofa.” Octane and Massicka contribute strong songs as well, with Jahmiel bringing it all home on the riddim’s tough title track. As he sings: “Ah just a yardman thing—yardman go hard and win.”